When digital currency goes wrong Netflix documentary

90-minute film explores the murky world of cryptocurrency investments

Netflix’s newest true-crime offering is a cautionary tale about the world of cryptocurrency investments. Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King follows the rise and fall of Gerald Cotten, founder of the QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange.

The result is a gripping documentary that attempts to trace the $150million (around £115m) investors lost following Cotton’s unexplained death in 2018.

QuadrigaCX customers complained they were unable to retrieve funds for long periods in the months prior to Cotten’s death. Furthermore, in January 2018, the exchange mysteriously went offline for ‘maintenance’.

Shortly afterwards, a court filing obtained by digital currency news site CoinDesk revealed that QuadrigaCX owed customers $150million.

Cryptocurrency investments

To make matters worse, no one knew how to access the exchange’s reserves. His widow Jennifer stated in court that although she had Cotten’s encrypted laptop, her husband:

  1. Controlled the company’s computer system
  2. Never shared the password or recovery key with anyone  

As a result, Cotton took the passwords with him to his grave, leaving millions of dollars locked away in the digital ether. That is, if he’s actually dead, though.

Following the bizarre announcement of his death, investors became majorly suspicious and formed groups to investigate what had happened.

Faked death

They believed Cotten faked his own death and was living happily somewhere on a remote island, having stolen their money.

Theories that he’d changed his appearance with plastic surgery became wildly popular. Even a death certificate failed to convince disbelievers. The general consensus appeared to be: ‘With enough money you can pay anyone to do just about anything‘.

Hunt for the Crypto King highlights just how murky the cryptocurrency investment world still remains. Audiences have responded with increased skepticism towards cryptocurrencys. Subsequently, the phrase: ‘Not your keys, not your coins‘ is being bandied around social media following the documentary’s release.

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